The Art of Deflect and Blame: Another Scary Lance Armstrong Interview

The Art of Deflect and Blame: Another Scary Lance Armstrong Interview

Another Lance Armstrong interview and one thing remains clear—for him, denial is still just a river in Eygpt.

This morning’s Lance Armstrong interview comes on the eve of the 2013 Tour De France—a race, he claims, no one can win without doping. Sounds like a new-fangled philosophy riddle to me—If you hold a race and no one does drugs, is there really a winner?

Quick answer—Yes, you idiot! The guy (or gal!) that crosses the finish line first! (Or in the case of the Tour, which is more confusing than cricket to me, the person who finishes in the least amount of time with the most yellow jerseys that didn’t crash or stop for a nice picnic lunch in a mountainside meadow with one of those girls in the tight dress that presents the yellow jersey.)

It was this excerpt that I find the most appalling, and terrifying:

“I did not invent doping. Sorry, Travis,” the 41-year-old Texan said, referring to USADA CEO Travis Tygart. “And it (doping) has not stopped with me. I just took part in the system.

“The USADA ‘reasoned decision’ perfectly managed to destroy a man’s life but it has not benefited cycling at all.”

I am in the parenting midst of trying to guide one of my teens through a similar phase—the “Not my fault!” phase. Comments like this, from a 41-year-old, scare the Jeebus out of me. As I tried to comfort my 15-year-old last night after a particularly trying evening, explaining that I love him and separating his personhood from his actions, I crossed my fingers yet again, hoping a mother’s love will make all the difference. So while I am disgusted that Armstrong continues this tactic—”Everyone else was doing it. Not my fault. Wasn’t like I was the first. Why y’all hating on me?”—I am now in a parenting panic. Because I can only imagine the number of times Lance’s mama had the same conversation with her teen son, fingers crossed. Is a mother’s love not the magic potion I am counting on it so hard on being?

I’m not even close to being an expert on countering the art of deflect and blame—most times, I just squeeze my eyes shut and scream silently in my head when I catch one of my kids in a lie. Or in a completely illogical defense, like this:

Me: “I asked you to clean up the cat bathroom.”

Child: “I don’t understand why I have to clean it. I didn’t make that mess.”

Me: “You’re cleaning it because I asked you to and … wait a minute. Are you suggesting the cats should clean up after themselves?” (This brief moment lends itself to a silent giggle fit at the mental picture of cats wearing rubber gloves and HazMat suits.)

Child: “I didn’t make the mess.”

And then there’s me standing there, willing myself not to throw the litter box pooper scooper at him.

Like I said, I have no idea what I am doing. These scenarios often end with me telling child to man up, shut his pie hole and get busy doing whatever it is that is expected of him at that given moment. (Except I say it in French—”Ferme la bouche!” It sounds so much more elegant.) Right now, I’ve got all my eggs in the “The pharma industry is going to invent a medication that eliminates butthead behavior” basket. Until then, I’ll just keep telling my child that lies and the deflection of blame get you nowhere fast, except for a date with every household cleaning implement we own. Oh, and that I love him.

Mr. Armstrong, no “reasoned decision” destroyed your life—YOUR ACTIONS DID. I no longer give a rip what you drank or fluid you injected, and whose urine you pretended was yours—I would think any of those acts would have served to give you pause based on the ick factor alone. Now I am just sad for you still living in delusion, stuck in some pubescent personality phase. But I’m mostly sad for your mama, who must be so very hurt every time you spout off in this manner, wondering if your inability to accept personal responsibility is somehow her fault.

Now I have to go clean the cat bathroom.

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